Why Are We Still Talking About This?

There are a few things that I’m really over reading about on social media. If I’m reading about it then that means people are ACTUALLY having these irrelevant and unnecessary conversations. I just feel like we should, as a society, be BEYOND these things. Perhaps, I expect too much of humans.

Disclaimer: I must admit that I have great privilege in that most of the time I ask for forgiveness (or not) instead of permission. I’m not expected to wear a uniform to work. I also work in education which really tries hard to NOT be a corporate environment BUT I mean, who are we kidding? A College/University is a business. My clients happen to be 18-22 year olds. Often really great 18-22 years olds who wish me Happy Birthday, make me laugh, and leave me donuts and honeybuns.

The topic that made me itch today was, “Are workout clothes appropriate for work?” REALLY?! The world of athleisure is a thing and people like Hannah Bronfman (major crush) are helping women understand how to step up their athletic wear to make it fashionable and appropriate enough for work. I laughed a great deal when a colleague shared with me a TODAY show segment about athleisure and how they advised women to whip on a strappy heel with their sweatpants. WHAT?!

I think at this point the term athleisure just makes me giggle BUT I take the meaning behind it seriously as a professional woman who floats through the world juggling a nice number of roles and wearing a few different and stylish hats. I’m also a person who does really great work in leggings, t-shirt, and sneakers because I’m not worried about my Spanx rolling, a run in my tights, and my left pinkie toe killing  me in heels as I hustle around a brick campus.

I work and live in one of the most obese states in the US. I’ve always been overweight. I come from a large people and I REALLY enjoy biscuits. Working out makes me feel happier, relieves me of stress, and infuses me with a great deal of energy. I’ve also been known to lose a few pounds. When I work out, it’s an act of prioritizing me over my work, which makes me not resent the amount of time that I devote to my professional life. By taking care of myself, I can provide a better version of Krystal to all of the other stakeholders in my life. I’m better for my bosses, my students, my staff, my friends, my colleagues, and my family. If I’m healthy, that leads to less time out for sick days or doctor’s appointments. I also work in an environment in which, rather I’d always like to or not, I serve as a model for my clients. Modeling the Way is a critical piece of working in Student Affairs and if I can make time to engage in fitness, then perhaps I can serve as encouragement for a overly involved student to do the same. We urge our students to practice self-care and make wellness a part of their life. For many of them this means incorporating physical activity into their day. There’s even a hashtag called #SAFit to encourage folks in my field to include fitness into their packed and often student directed schedules.

All of this sounds pretty great, right? A happy, healthy, motivated, confident, and engaged Krystal is the best Krystal to have on your team. Not the grumpy sloth I become after skipping days of Barre3 or whatever ClassPass adventure on my schedule.

Then why do we keep admonishing people for sporting workout gear to the office? This is actually improving my work and if I’m getting the job done then should we really be hung up on what I wear to the office? What we’ve defined as professional dress, for many reasons, needs to be updated. Many of the women that have adopted athleisure as their work style, talk about it as a way of being comfortable while they work. These clothes help them perform at their self-defined personal best.

Barre3

Here’s the thing, we preach balance and life prioritization, but don’t want to always deal with the reality of what this looks like in practice.

There are times when I could make it to a fitness class in time if I didn’t have to worry about changing clothes or I could make it back to the office in a more timely manner if I didn’t have to take the time to do my entire morning routine for a 2nd time post workout. This is balance/prioritization in practice. If this isn’t acceptable, then I might just forego a workout because I don’t have time to change in a phone booth like Superman.

Yes, I know there are all of these office friendly workouts that people integrate into their day and that’s fantastic.  I’ve done some Barre3 10 minute workouts in the middle of my office but sometimes, you need a good lifting session or some time on the TRX. Unless you have the best office  EVER (if you even have an office) , these things might be super difficult to make happen between your desk and your decorative fichus.

Instead of looking at someone in a dri-fit top and a pair of workout pants as messy, lazy, unprofessional, and disrespectful, what if we looked at this person as just trying to get it all done in the best way they can?  What if we looked at this person as someone who has their priorities in order? What if we looked at this person as working hard to be their best in order to do their best work for and with others? We put athletes up on pedestals and invest billions of dollars in high performance  clothes that we hope will make us look, play, throw, shoot, swing, run, jump, flip, catch, kick, row, box, ski, and swim like they do BUT don’t bring that mess to work! Work, the place where you’re expected to perform like an Olympian for at least 40 hours of your week.

Now, I must admit that when I do wear workout clothes to the office I tend to do the following:

  1. Wear an oversized top to cover my bum.
  2. Ensure that what I wear is so fresh and so clean.
  3. Choose items that are black. I don’t rock my most colorful leggings on these days.
  4. Make sure that I’m not too exposed.
  5. If I happen to workout and then go to work, I take grooming items with me to freshen up at my desk or in my car. Deodorant or Dove’s Dry Spray , BeautyCounter’s Rose Water Spray, wipes, and fragrance. The goal is not to show up as a sweaty and smelly mess.
  6. Make sure that I have a light load of meetings post workout.

I know that these 6 items are my own way of contributing to the problem but to be honest, they also just help with my comfort level. I know that some of my friends feel they could never just pop back into the office post workout because of the amount they sweat in the process. I get that and this kit has helped me not be as concerned about this issue. I also would never wear leggings or workout pants without covering the junk in my trunk. I just can’t! No shade to those who do. You have much more confidence in your behind than I do.

I just think we’ve got to effectively design the outcomes of our office culture and be open to the steps that need to be made in order to achieve those outcomes. The tech world has certainly figured this out as my friends who work at Google and Microsoft rock sneakers, t-shirts, and jeans,  but what about everyone else? Do we really need to discount a person’s entire skillset because they wore a pair of sneakers, workout leggings, and a t-shirt to the office?

Stop with all the policing and get back to work. Let people be great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

What?! An Extra 24? Hey Februrary.

Feb 1

 

This post is the definition of late. We are 9 days into Black History Month and this post should have been delivered 4 days ago. I just realized that there could be layers to this statement but there’s enough commentary (too much) circulating about blackness after a certain superstar decided to stray from her nonthreatening lyrical roots and get more in touch with her actual roots. As I commented to a friend this morning, “don’t let anyone interrupt your slaying time.” Therefore, I SLAY! Today’s post is about the slayage that has already and will continue to take place in the month of February.

It’s a leap year, y’all! We get that extra 24 hours. I’ve scheduled a nap. How about you?

Oh, and I don’t do Valentine’s Day. I’m not even going to act like I have some higher intellectual view towards the holiday. I’m not in love and I haven’t had an actual Valentine’s Day since I was in college therefore, I’m jealous and it makes me sad. So there! Get out of my face with all of your pink and red shit. Yes, I know, I’m going to spend the day engaged in loving myself and the Lord. Yeah, I got it. 

February Happenings

  1. Launch of The Leadership Studio/ Communication Studio Session
  2. S.A.I.L Success Session
  3. Steve’s Birthday!
  4. JLN Masquerade
  5. NEL Opening Mixer
  6. JLN Board Meeting
  7. Super Bowl
  8. First PREVAIL Planning Team Meeting
  9. NEL Facilitator Training
  10. JLN In Home Meeting
  11. JLN 8th Signing at MCJCH
  12. InTune Alpha Chi Omega @ UGA
  13. Brene Brown & Valentine’s Day
  14. Nashville Emerging Leaders
  15. MOTOWN @ TPAC
  16. Relationships Session on Commons
  17. Dare 2 Be @ Crosspoint
  18. Mavenly + Co visit
  19. Tamara’s Goodbye Brunch
  20. IMPACT @ American University
  21. First draft due of book chapter

Feb 2

February Hopes

  1. Submit NELA Application on 2/15
  2. Continue BossyPants and Leadership Instablog research
  3. 3 posts to PeculiarPearl
  4. Complete S.A.I.L Session 2- Authenticity
  5. Send out Doodle for next if:gathering in March
  6. Complete NLC Homework
  7. Finalize plans for EVOLVE
  8. Begin planning for EVOLVE
  9. Start planning for TEDxVanderbiltUniversity 2016!
  10. Beyoncé Tickets!!! Prayers, please!
  11. Set up meetings with at least 2 past JLN Presidents
  12. Set up a dentist appointment
  13. Finalize 33rd Birthday Trip
  14. Pray for an open heart and mind when it comes to this season of my life. Pray that the Lord will give me the strength to embrace it and not let it lead me to lose my faith or hope in His promises. To constantly seek to be intentionally full of light, love, and laughter.
  15. Sweat at least 30 minutes each day (my fitness motivation is not in a good place)
  16. Leave at least 1 blank night a week
  17. Be in bed by midnight
  18. Buy less stuff (2 sweaters from LOFT, new Spanx, mani and pedi for Masquerade)

Now, it’s time to work. 20 days and counting, my friends.

I see it, I want it
I stunt, yeah, little hornet
I dream it, I work hard
I grind ’til I own it… (Beyoncé, Formation)

I’ve updated my January Happenings & Hopes post in case you’d like to see my success rate.

What about you? What’s happening for you during the month of love?

Krystal “I strongly dislike those chalky candy hearts” Clark

 

 

 

“I Am Launching A Rocket.”

“I am such a small person. I don’t have many talents. I’m weak. Nothing I do has any real significance.” says many a Christian about the possibility of being used by God. Schaeffer’s response to that man or woman is that, “with God, there are no little people.”- Francis A. Schaeffer, No Little People 

On Wednesday, I attended the Faith and Work Summit hosted by the Nashville Institute for Faith & Work. I didn’t really know what to expect from this event but left with pages of notes and a head full of renewed thoughts surrounding the concept and realization of “work”.

faith and work 1

Great event! Looking forward to more learning from this organization. 

Work according to one of our speakers doesn’t have to be in an office. Work comes from many places including if you’re a stay at home mom, a student, or a volunteer in your community.

I have a pretty clutch roster of work but I can have a very negative attitude about going to work and sometimes about completing aspects of the work that I do. I have a tendency to look forward to Friday and live for the weekend. I really love a day off and a snow day is often a dream come true. Getting out of bed in the morning can be rough and watching the minutes slowly tick by can be painful as I sloth my way towards 5 pm. I wish for meetings to end and I sigh heavily as I dive into a less than desirable project. I hustle to close my door to secure quiet moments from the students and my co-workers. I develop a bad attitude and use pretty profane language in reference to my job and sometimes my co-workers. Yeesh, I must sound like a dragon lady. Please know that  for the most part, I love my co-workers, the students, and the work that I do. Really, I do. 

leaving work

You know I’m not the only one. 

Unfortunately, this is not a unique story as it seems that most people have a certain loathsome disposition towards the work week. T.G.I.F and FriYay! are all over my newsfeed. Prayers for the Lord to just get people to the weekend are a regular sight and when you ask people how they’re doing at work, they might often respond with, “just two days till Friday” or “just hanging in there until the weekend” and when it’s finally Friday you get that shiny day of the week as a one word response with a big grin. It’s like we’ve crossed a finish line and now get to celebrate our PR, at least until Monday rolls back around and let’s not get started on people’s pure and unbridled hatred of that day of the week.

The Faith and Work Summit wants us, as Christians, to think differently about work. Scott Sauls from Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN decided to slay the stage and drop the mic with all the good words he rained out upon the audience. I’m not Presbyterian and Rev. Sauls was pretty amazing. I’m always looking for a good Word. 

First, we, as Christians, are designed for work. “God is a worker.” Whenever we encounter Him in the Bible, He is working by creating or redeeming. When we first meet Him, He is working and when He is done, He rests on the Sabbath. That’s our model for life. We, being made in His image, are created to work. We are a product of His work.

Rev. Sauls  spoke about work from a place of Dignity, Mission, and Witness.

faith and work 2

I’m a believe in taking old school handwritten notes. I come armed with a notebook and pen. This is only 1 page of many. 

Dignity 

I love the quote at the top of the page because we are reminded that there are no little, people, places, or jobs. All of our work is significant and can be used by God. We live in a world of “just”. I remember eating at Logan’s Roadhouse (don’t judge me) with a friend for lunch and our server said, “Oh, I’m just a trainee.” –I looked at her, and said “don’t say that, what you’re doing is important.” I have a visceral reaction to anyone saying they are “just” this or “just” that. What you are doing matters. You have to believe that. I love that he referenced us participating in a “socially constructed hierarchy of vocation”. Lawyers, Doctors, Bankers, CEOs, College Presidents at the top and Plumbers, Sanitation Workers, Housekeepers, and Exterminators at the bottom with the rest of us shoved into the middle. But can you imagine a world in which we did not have Sanitation Workers? A world full of Lawyers and no Sanitation Workers? I mean, tell me who should be on top of the hierarchy in that world? Sanitation Workers are Royalty!  Remember, Matthew 20:16, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” At some point, this will all be flipped on its head. All vocations matter and contribute to the bigger picture.

He told a story that ended with the lesson, “whatever lane you’re in, you’re launching a rocket.” I thought about that on Thursday and Friday morning. No matter how insignificant I might feel my job is in this world, I have to internalize that, I’m launching a rocket. Whatever I am doing is contributing to God’s masterpiece. Finding the dignity in my work and showing others the same is a critical element of integrating my faith with my vocation.

I grew up with a grandmother, aunt, and mother who all worked as cleaning women and nannies. My grandmother was the definition of The Help. My mom cleaned hotel rooms, and my aunt and mother did in-home healthcare. When I was younger, I didn’t look highly upon this caste of work and I vowed to never have to do anything like that in my life. As I’ve gotten older, I understand now how honorable that work is and that I’m blessed to have had women in my life who worked ridiculously hard to “launch a rocket.” There is dignity in their work and the contributions they made to the lives of others by engaging in this work. I am sure that as they were cleaning up after others, helping to make life easier for the ill and elderly, and raising other people’s children that they served as proof to others that God is real. 

Mission

“God has invited you to partner with him in something meaningful.” –What if this is the way we thought about work? A partnership between you and God to do something meaningful in this world. How could you not be excited to go to work? There is a thrill in ingesting this as your truth.

Work has a mission element to it and can be a calling. In whatever area you work, you are helping to forward the mission of God. I’m an educator and he stated that this is reflective of the wisdom and mind of God.

Witness

Last, he spoke about Witness and that “awareness in God’s work should compel us and liberate us to go for it.” We have read of and heard of His great works. We know the beautiful results of His work. We’ve witnessed it. Because we know this, why wouldn’t we want to work? His grace and His mercy will carry us through and His arms are always open to us. “There is no year end review with God.” He’s not going to fire you. So, do the work, develop a desire to do the work, and feel free to do the work with the full knowledge that He’s in your corner.

I sometimes get nervous about launching new programs at work or I’m unsure how to handle a predicament that a student has dropped on my round table. My students are often a great deal more “book smart” than I am and sometimes that can be a little overwhelming but I know the goodness of His work and letting these feelings hold me back is not necessary and it isn’t what He wants from me in this world. He wants me to do work and keep His example in mind.

Dignity

Mission

Witness

The goal is to not shape my identity around success and another speaker urged us to “ignore the pull of the concern for the end result.” Be in the midst of the process of your work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Picking up this book this weekend. Also looking more into Katherine Alsdorf and her work in this area. 

My Lightbulb

The way that I view work, the way that I approach my work, the way that I do my work should be wrapped around my faith. Now, this can often be a bit hard for me to think about because I work at a private institution and we’ve had some grumbling with faith-based organizations and their connection to the University. We work to be a diverse and inclusive institution on all spectrum of identity. What I was reminded of is that, my job is not to baptize people in the middle of the student center, my job is to just love people. Love them, be there for them, listen to them, support them, laugh with them, allow them to cry, be thoughtful, pass along any knowledge that I possess, be a friendly face, a warm heart, create environments and opportunities for them to thrive, and sometimes I’ve found that college students just want a hug. A very appropriate hug. My job is not to “get them saved”. My job is to be a shining example of God’s love. That’s it.

I have students who are openly believers and I have students who I’ve never once had a conversation about faith. And that’s fine, because my only job is for them to feel like there’s something good about me being in their midst. That goodness is that my work is backed by Him.

My Truth

To be honest, I’m a pretty moody person and on top of that, I’m a task oriented human being. When I get into a project–I don’t like to be disturbed. I like when people make appointments and it’s really hard for me to get back on track after being interrupted. I have outbursts of chatter and giggles and the next moment, I’m done with everyone and just want to be left alone. I have a quick temper. I only have a certain level of tolerance for feelings and on most days, I just want to tell people that they need to get up and shake it off. I have to work really hard to have good empathetic and developmental conversations. We didn’t do that in my family. We just kept moving and all the “stuff” dealt with itself or just never was dealt with at all. I’m a roller coaster, my friends. I’m perfectly imperfect. 

My Prayer

What I hope and what I will now begin to pray is that I create a new outlook on work. Because I know that I’m blessed to have the work that I have in my life. That I see my work and the work of others from a place of Dignity, Wisdom, and Mission. That I believe that I am launching a rocket and that I’m in a partnership with God to do so. God is a worker and that part of me being His means that I’m a worker too. I am made for it. My job is not to get people saved, it is simply to love them. My success is not the numbers on my Success Plan but instead in how I’m forwarding the mission of Christ. My vocation matters and He can use me and my work for a greater purpose. When I wake up in the morning, I am going to do His good work and I have to remind myself of this every time I find myself in the valley wishing for Friday. God’s work isn’t just in the church and isn’t just for pastors and missionaries. All good work is God’s work. 

There was then a really strong panel that I’ll talk about in another post. What a full and blessed night!

Check out the Nashville Institute for Faith & Work at nifw.org @NashFaithWork (Instagram & Twitter), /NashFaithWork on Facebook, or send over an email to info@nifw.org.

I now have to pick up Timothy Keller’s, Every Good Endeavor, to dig deeper into this topic.

What about you? What’s your perspective on work and the integration of your faith with your vocation?

Krystal “Do Work” Clark

 

 

 

 

S.A.I.L Away With Me

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

SAIL Pic 2

My personal mission statement is to inspire and equip others to thrive. I have a great passion for doing so with women, especially young professional women. For a long time, I’ve had a dream of creating a women’s leadership development program and was able to be the driving force in creating and implementing PREVAIL Women’s Leadership Conference at Vanderbilt University for undergraduate and graduate students who identify as women. After the success of PREVAIL, my heart was even more motivated to create something special for women in Nashville. A place where women can connect, learn, be vulnerable, dream, create, love, and communicate what they hope for, need, pray for, and just want in this world for their personal and professional lives.

One of my Strengths is Input which means that I collect lots of resources and love sharing them with other people. I cringe when people haven’t been exposed to tools that could help lead them in a different and/or better direction. Besides just posting these items on social media, I want to be able to actually engage women as they dive into various frameworks, theories, and schools of thought. I’m a connector of people and a connector of people to resources.

This is  the origin story  of S.A.I.L:

Success

Authenticity

Innovation

Love

“All of us are learning how to SAIL our ship. We often don’t think about learning how to SAIL until we’re in a storm. Think about how much better we’d be at thriving during the storm if we spent more time learning how to SAIL before the storm. “

Deciding a name for this program took me a little time as I wanted something meaningful and different. A scroll through Pinterest produced the famous quote from Little Women and I scribbled  SAIL in my notebook. I then decided that SAIL needed to mean something and used it to plot out the curriculum course. S.A.I.L is a vessel to get to your desired destination and people go sailing to do the same. I took a break from the idea and visited The Beveled Edge for a shopping break. The first greeting card I saw in the pile was the one below:

Sail card

This is when I knew I’d found just what I was looking for in the name S.A.I.L. God is something else, ain’t he?

S.A.I.L includes:

  • 4 1.5/2 hour workshops
  • Opportunity to take StrengthsQuest
  • List of Relevant Resources
  • Relationship Building
  • Action Planning
  • Snacks/Wine/Champagne
  • Real Talk  about four key topics that continuously rear their head in the lives of women.
  • Oh, and it’s FREE!

Our first session is on Wednesday, February 3rd at Atmalogy in Nashville, TN.

19 women have already said YES! My goal was 15.

Can’t wait to keep you updated on this dream. This is just Leg 1 of the voyage. My hope is that S.A.I.L is able to leave its mark on the hearts, minds, and souls of the women in Nashville, TN and then one day, a city near you :).

If you’re in Nashville and interested in being a part of any or all S.A.I.L sessions, please send me an email at krystalnclark@gmail.com.

Invite Pic

 

 

 

Full.

Watch this video.

I live with the same gremlin as Oprah, “Who do you think you are?”

FULL is my 2016 Word. Read this Yellow + Co. post for more info. Resolutions are not my thing. Well composed goals that include a plan of action and accountability systems are a whole lot better. One word that keeps me pointed in the right direction creates a simple guidepost for my life. I don’t have to check a list to make sure I’m getting it all “right”. I just have to check the gauge on my heart and mind to see if I’m heading towards full.

“Now, I work at being full. I want to be so full that I’m overflowing. Overflowing with enough to share with everybody else…I’m going to own the fullness without ego and without arrogance, but an amazing sense of gratitude that I live at a time where I have the great pleasure and freedom to fill myself up.” –Oprah

FULL

Happy 2016, y’all. Here’s to a life of being full. Full of becoming more of who I already am, full of saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ intentionally, full of belly laughing, full of love for myself and others, full of God and reminders of His grace, full of music, full of delicious food, full of movement, full of creativity, full of knowing that being single does not determine my worth, full of living my life in my lane, full of magic, full of friends, full of reflection, full of choosing joy, full of family, full of events, full of seeing failure as information, full of enjoying the small moments, full of fighting the good fight, full of getting stronger, full of less stuff and more experiences, full of honoring my needs, full of hope, full of savoring the season of my life, full of being a little bit better today than I was yesterday, and full of doing the best I can with what I have. This little tea cup is just waiting to overflow.

I think we have enough people who are living their lives empty of their truth. They are curating themselves into someone they aren’t. Being full of oneself isn’t a negative thing and I’d choose it any day over being empty of the me God made me to be.

Now, when I hear that little gremlin say, “Who do you think you are?” I will simply say, “I’m me.”

What’s your word of 2016? What’s that one focus that you’ll keep in mind as you move throughout the year. That internal check-in that will let you know if you’re experiencing your personally defined vision of success.

Krystal “Someone Get That Woman an Extra Cup” Clark

#FULL

Happenings & Hopes: January Edition

Happy New Year!

I spent NYE with new friends eating a delicious dinner at MOTO in The Gulch and drinking a great deal of Champs while having belly laugh inducing conversations and watching Nashville’s award winning fireworks from a supposedly ‘closed’ rooftop lounge. I’ll call it a win.

NYE

The next night I spent jotting in my ban.do Hopes + Dreams notebook about all that I want to happen in 2016. The list is long as I’m not known for brevity or lack of ambition.

Hopes and Dreams

The second item I wrote is that I will commit to writing at least 1 blog post per week. A daily blog is NOT my jam. Batch writing and scheduling posts is not my desired creation process. However, I can prioritize time during each week to crank out 1 meaningful post. I’ve drafted a list of topics for this month and the first week of February. I’ve chosen Thursday as my post day of the week. My hope is that this will lift the rock up off my shoulders that comes with people knowing I have a blog and then realizing that my posts have become few and far between. So, I’ll see you here on Thursday every week.  A new monthly series is Happenings & Hopes where I will detail what’s actually on my plate during the month and what I hope will happen during the month. Those are often two VERY different things.

So, welcome to January:

Happenings –Stuff that’s on the calendar– IT ALL HAPPENENED!!!

  • Junior League of Nashville ’16-’17 Board Retreat! 150 till I’m President Elect which means I’m a year closer to taking on the President role in 2017. Yikes!
  • Barre3 Challenge begins on January 4th! 4 studio classes, 1 online workout, and one yummy recipe-27 days of Barre3 immersion– completed 1 week…:(
  • Co-Facilitation of JLN Goal Setting Training Session
  • University of West Georgia Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Retreat- My first time being hired to create original curriculum and serve as Co-Lead Facilitator!
  • Beginning a Bible Study with lovely friends! We’re using Kelly Minter’s “What is Love?” I’m looking forward to this dive into the Word.
  • AJLI Winter Leadership Retreat in Austin, TX! Can’t wait to meet my President Elect-Elect Sisters!
  • My brothers’ birthday and he’s starting the MBA program at my alma mater, William & Mary!
  • Nashville Emerging Leaders Breakfast
  • College Panhellenic/Interfraternity Council Academy where I’ve been invited to facilitate an original session on Motivation and give an IFC Academy Talk!
  • I’m incredibly excited to begin my involvement with another fantastic training organization in Nashville that will allow me to further explore my budding interest in local politics. More details to come!
  • Oh, and I have a full-time job! We’re launching an new spring program and have some moves to make with campus partners. We’re also reapplying for our TEDxVanderbiltUniversity license and reimagining some of our existing programs.

I have NOTHING to do this month.

Hopes — Stuff that’s in my head and heart but if I’m not careful won’t make it’s way onto the Priority List

  • Purchase new personal business cards
  • Published blog post on a site I love dearly–Checking in on this piece
  • Holiday Thank You Cards
  • Eat out once per day and not three –> grocery shop–I lost count of the days and by the amount of receipts in my wallet from Panera, I’m not sure this worked out perfectly. I will say that I cooked more than usual this month which is a bit nuts considering that I was out of town 12 days.
  • Plan 2 friend moments
  • Engage in Sunday outfit planning for the week–whatever was hanging around once I finished packing was up for grabs
  • Finish at least 1 incomplete or untouched book already on my bookshelf–Nope!
  • Write a plan to tackle a piece of debt
  • Finish Season 1 and start Season 2 of Homeland
  • Begin planning 33rd Birthday trip for April
  • Finish developing the first and second session of S.A.I.L
  • Leave at least 1 blank night a week
  • Be in bed by midnight
  • Buy less stuff (Kate Spade bag w/gift card, mani/pedi/wax, Tom Ford Lipstick, Le Pens, Champagne, Hat, Wallet, Planner)
  • Marie Kondo my closet –Purses=Check!, Shoes= Check! Hats=Check!
  • To reach out to people when I think about them and not just shrug off the urge.-Ick! Yes, there were times when I did so and other times during which I put it on the backburner and never moved it back to the front of my mind.
  • To really use all that I learned during our mid-year reviews to be a better Director of my office and supervisor of my team.–uh, sure. Gosh, I have a staff member that’s decided to take advantage of another great opportunity and I think we had a great conversation about this change.
  • Pray for an open heart and mind when it comes to this season of my life. Pray that the Lord will give me the strength to embrace it and not let it lead me to lose my faith or hope in His promises. To constantly seek to be intentionally full of light, love, and laughter.– I really did the best I could with what I have. I didn’t dwell too much on my singleness this month, probably because I was running like a madwoman on the hamster wheel of life, and this also why I continue to run. I did have someone tell me that they just can’t ever see me being angry –gosh, I’ve got them fooled!
Some additional January Wins:
  • Announced as a Fellow for New Leaders’ Council
  • Solidified an opportunity to contribute a piece to an upcoming book for college students
  • Successfully designed and co-facilitated my first for hire retreat curriculum for the University of West Georgia
  • Met an incredible group of PE and PEE at AJLI Winter Leadership Conference in Austin, TX
  • Nominated for a Nashville Emerging Leader Award
  • A beautiful surprise shoutout for being a Panhellenic woman and  the first African American President of the Junior League of Nashville at CPC Academy
  • Nailed down 2 additional speaking/facilitation gigs for 2016

Can’t wait to let y’all know how all this went down or didn’t go down in February.

This may seem like A  LOT to some folks, but y’all, I am so thankful for all of the opportunities that He puts on my plate. Everything that I’m doing means something to me and is helping me be more of who I already am in this world–because that’s all I want–to be as ME as I can possibly be in this world without any apprehension.

These posts also serve as an accountability tool. You’ve unknowingly signed up to be my accountability partners. Thanks y’all, you’re so good to me. Breaking things up into monthly patterns will help me work towards the bigger picture without being too overwhelmed.

Now, I’m going to carve out time to put my Hopes on my calendar along with my Happenings.

What about you? What are your Happenings & Hopes for this month?

Can’t wait to see y’all each Thursday!

Krystal “Fighters Gotta Fight” Clark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RSVP is a Verb.

 

RSVP

 

Répondez s’il vous plaît

In the context of social invitations, RSVP is a request for a response from the invited person or people. It is an initialism derived from the French phrase Répondez s’il vous plaît, literally “Reply if you please” or “Please reply”.

This is what you learn when you type into Google, “What does RSVP mean?” Ahem, I know what it means but I wanted to get it from a trusted source and I tend to trust Google more than I’ve ever trusted a human being in my life (j/k) but really…hmm, that’s probably a topic for another post.

Anywho, let’s talk about something that’s been grinding my gears lately, and yes, that is a Family Guy reference. I enjoy big belly laughs while watching that show and I could care less if that changes your opinion of me.

To remind you, I work at a Top 15 university and part of my job includes developing educational programs for undergraduate students. 95% of my time, I really love my job and the students are the best part of it all. However, what I began to notice within the 18-22 set and have continued to observe in the beyond 22 crowd (I’m 32 and doing it well.) is that people no longer show any respect for the RSVP. It has fallen into the pile of things that are heavily underutilized. That pile also includes signal lights in Tennessee, the phone to actually make calls, the ability to ask people out on dates, and razors during No Shave November.

What I have found is that people respond to an invite with an enthusiastic, “YES!” or not at all. Now, I haven’t really tested this in the paper realm of things but when it comes to electronic invites, we are really slippin’ on our RSVP game. I blame all of this on Facebook. Thanks Mark Zuckerberg! I’m an OG on Facebook joining in 2005 and back then the event feature didn’t exist. Now, we all have the power to create events and invite selectively or just your entire “friends” list to your birthday party, opening, fundraiser, watch party, baby shower, donor drive, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, happy hour, gender reveal party, the day you woke up on time, that one time you escaped work without banging your head against the wall, your prison release celebration and so on and so forth. So what happens? People get an invite and feel special and while still on that dopamine high that one experiences upon receiving social media notifications, they eagerly hit “Going”. Congratulations, you’ve just RSVPd “Yes”. The person on the other side of this event, the person who is expending psychological and financial resources on this event just became really excited because you, their “friend”, just agreed to support them at this event. Hell yeah! This person, is coming and I won’t be there all by myself. Praise Him or Her or whatever you praise when you get excited.

Let’s fast forward to the actual event. Person B, event creator, is expecting you to be there along with the other 50 folks who hit “Going” with more enthusiasm than people ever show in voting booths. “This is going to be rad”, thinks Person B, “50 of my woes are coming to this event.” And guess what, at the end of the event perhaps 15 of your woes have rolled into the scene. You planned for 50, you paid for 50, you’d gotten your heart set on 50, you’d promised the club owner 50, and you got 15. WHERE IN THE HELL WERE ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE? Oh, wait, there they are over on Instagram at other events having the time of their lives. Dagger! Dems fighting words or rather pictures.

The other response is “silence” which signals, “I’m ignoring your invitation and don’t even care enough to reject this opportunity.” —Avoidance is always the right answer, amirite?! Oh, and I’m lazy. Ick.

Have we all simply become commitmentphobes?

Obviously, I took this question to the precious pumpkins that I get to have in my life aka college students who simultaneously make me feel 19 and 89.

“What’s up with that?”

A few responses—

“I mean, I say that I’m going on Facebook because it shows that I support my friend and the event. However, it doesn’t mean that I’m actually going to go.” –This is when I begin to feel 89. The ultimate form of support would be to, oh I don’t know, ACTUALLY ATTEND THE EVENT! The other, way more mature thing to do would be to honestly RSVP and then send your friend a note (text, email, stationery for all my adorable ones who leave me cards on my desk and under my door –love!) explaining that you can’t attend because other parts of your life are occurring at the same time along with statements, like and such as, you’re awesome and I’m so happy you’re having this event. Let’s get together soon and celebrate (whatever was happening at the event) OR let me know how I can be a part of the cause in another way.

Just my two cents. I’ve only been in the game for 32 years.

Other responses—

“I would have gone but I didn’t know anyone else who was going.” –Okay, I get it. Everyone isn’t an extroverted loner like myself who will literally do anything she wants all.by.myself with the same chest beating zeal of Celine Dion singing the same words. BUT at some point in your existence, I’m going to just need you to get gussied up and put your friend making pants on! I know this sounds nuts, but try meeting a new person. I know, I know I feel a little naughty even suggesting it to you. What I’ve found is that people don’t actually mind meeting other people. You were invited to the same event so there’s got to be some commonality that you’ll find within your network even if it’s just that you go to the same school or both know the host. Smile, say hello, ask a good leading question, and watch how it all unfolds. I have met a crapload of people in Nashville by just showing up and being my sweet southern sarcastic smart successful self. I thought of some other words that begin with ‘s’, but this is LinkedIn.

The last most common response grouping—

“Krystal, I fully intended to go but…

–another event was happening at the same time and I thought I could do both but it just didn’t happen.

— I was too busy with something else.

— I mean, I just didn’t feel like going.

For #1 and #2 –You’re doing too much. Just like Drake in “Hotline Bling”, I’m not mad at you for doing too much because you could be doing too much awesomeness, but I need you to become aware of it and act accordingly. Don’t let it have a negative impact on your ability to commit and in the process frustrate others. Essentialism by Greg Mckeown has changed my life. He talks about the power of the graceful “no”. “Remember that a clear ‘no’ can be more graceful than a vague or noncommittal ‘yes’. I’d much rather you say no instead of committing dishonestly and halfheartedly by saying yes? <–The question mark is supposed to be there. Read it again with emphasis on the question mark. McKeown reminds us that we live by the inherent assumption “I can do both” and this lead us to a lack of understanding or embracing that in life, there are tradeoffs. By saying yes to something, we are saying no to something else. If you click yes on a gender reveal party, you’re signaling that you’re saying no to the happy hour. You’re also being a damn good friend because I’m not sure I would make the same decision. Doing both is not going to lead to full commitment of you physically or psychologically. That doesn’t seem fair to you or to the hosts. By figuring out what’s essential to your life, focusing not on how to do “more things but more of the right things” you’re going to live a more fulfilling, clear, and purposeful life. You’ll also retain the respect of your peers and not burn bridges that could lead you somewhere essential later in life.

Seriously, read Essentialism. I’d be totally cool if you stopped reading this and read that instead. I believe in it just that much. I’m also pretty confident that you’re not going to do that.

#3 –Don’t should yourself to death. Check out this Buzzfeed video. If you don’t want to go, just say “no” and let that be okay. You ain’t got to lie, Craig. That was a Friday reference  (excuse the language in the clip). Everything isn’t going to appeal to everyone. You can gracefully decline. Just please, don’t say “YES” and give people the wrong idea. No one actually deserves that in the same way that you don’t deserve having to endure an event that you find to be just awful. Rid your life of FOMO and just enjoy the limited amount of time that you have on this planet. If you want to smooth this over with the host then see that thing about a note that I wrote earlier or when you see them again in the flesh just push that awkward elephant out of the room and apologize for your absence. Unless, there’s actually an elephant in the room and then by god you just enjoy being in the presence of that beautiful creature. Also, probably ask why there’s an elephant in the room and how he/she got there in the first place?

What I know for sure is that life happens and when it does, it can get in the way of your plans. What I don’t get is how we’ve become so immune to the feelings of other humans that when we acknowledge that my life happening impacted their life happening that I can’t even take the time to send a 1 line text, “My apologies. I fully well meant to attend but [insert life happening here]. Then scratch that one off your “Things I feel guilty or awkward about list” or the “Things I was a total jerk about list” and move on with all of the other things occurring in the world.

My office and students plan programs all the time and it can take a great deal of courage and energy to plan an event and invite the world to attend. Your name is on something and the most superficial level of success can only be achieved if there are butts in seats. When folks don’t honor their commitment, it can simply be hurtful. Why would you want to do that to someone?

Advice for the Hosts: The philosophy that was taught to me a long time ago by TJ Sullivan was to “celebrate those who come”. No matter if 2 or 200 people are in the space, show those folks the best time possible. Achieve your event outcomes with those two people and know that you’ve had an impact. Those 2 who had a jolly time will tell 2 more people and when you talk about that event, you let people know that we did it real BIG and you missed it. You always play to a crowd of 1000 even if there’s 1 person in the stands.

All of these words to say that we’ve got to get our RSVP Game back in order. It’s just a basic sign of respect for people in the world who are working hard to make great things happen and plan your social calendar. People want you to be at places—that’s really cool. However, don’t be so overtaken by that rush of happiness that you screw them over in the process. It’s pretty simple, YES or NO. If things change, you often have the opportunity to commit at a later time or uncommit.

Take a moment out of your day to go back through all of those Facebook Invites and update your attendance status. Send notes of regret to those people sweating behind the scenes. Mark some things off your calendar or to-do list and engage in a sigh of relief. Release yourself and others from expectations. I’m not perfect at this but I’m getting better everyday because I know that these events matter. If not to you, then someone else and that’s enough for me to start caring and acting like I care.

The RSVP is a powerful tool. It represents not only something that you have in the form of an opportunity and a choice but also something that you do. It calls you to respond. JUST SAY YES or JUST SAY NO (that one’s for you, Nancy Reagan).

Thanks for reading.